• Kevin Parthonnaud

It all starts in the vineyard and finish in the winery: Second and Third elements.

Updated: Feb 27, 2019



With today's technologies and knowledge, it is possible to make wine out of bad

grapes! Add this, remove that, filter it and there you go, a very drinkable wine that

will probably sell for $12.50 in your local supermarket.

Nothing wrong with that! but when you are devoted to your passion and your passion

is to love and produce “Terroir wines”, that is just not good enough.


Terroir wines have the ability to talk to you! They are telling you where they are

coming from, the way they have been growing: like the sort soil and subsoil the vines

grew on and how cold or hot the season was.

And they can also tell you a story! The story about the people who work amongst the

vines, care for them, how they managed them and of course how they made the

wine!


Our vineyards on Banks Peninsula are very small and producing “Bulk” wines

wouldn't make sense whatsoever.

Running small vineyards organically is labour intensive, costly and not profitable!

However, it has the big reward of producing a very unique piece of art that will make

people stop and go “YUM! This is amazing” because at the end of the day, it isn’t

about being pretentious and arrogant! It is all about taste and make people happy,

literally happy.

And to me, only Terroir, low input, hands off winemaking style can do that! You have

to leave the vineyard speak for itself!


Our vines are growing deep into a loess soil. It is moist, cool, very fine and a bit

acidic.

That means our wines will have that minerality, subtility and freshness that you can

find in the soil!

No hard and dry limestone on Banks Peninsula which means no strong whites, no

peppery red and definitely no heavy rosé!

However, that Terroir feel cannot be expressed without the Fermentation!


Did you know that Pinot Noir juice will taste almost the same if it is coming from

South America, France or New Zealand? Same for any kind of grapes! There might

be a little sugar or acidity difference but no incredible changes!

Primary flavours will appear once the fermentation has started and those yeast are

working hard!


The primary flavours are the common aromas of each grapes: Pear for Pinot Gris,

Strawberries for Pinot Noir, cat pee for Sauvignon Blanc, yes Cat pee, ...


Secondary and Third flavours are the expression of the Terroir and the winemaking

style.


No minerality and freshness if our grapes were not going deep down into that cool

loess soil!

But also, no complexity and ripe cherry aromas for our Pinot Noir if our summer is

cool and wet.


And then the winemaker adds his/her own influence!

Primary flavours will shine if the fermentation is done in a neutral tank (stainless

steel) cooled down to 18 degrees and bottled without long aging on lees or in oak

barrel.

If you let the fermentation do its own thing, the temperature will rise and some more

complex flavours will be produced by those yeast!

When you want the wine to talk to you and tell you the story of the land, you have to

meet with these incredible microscopic little things called yeast. They are the ones

working very hard, turning sugar into alcohol but also flavours, complex aromas,

creating mouth feel, subtility and feelings.


We can add laboratory made yeast that have the ability to make one flavour shine

more than the other. If you are looking for a very easy to drink sauvignon blanc with

lots of tropical aromas, add the strain of yeast that can do that.


If you are looking for a Pinot Noir that express 100% the Terroir and will not taste like

anything else, then work with the “Wild” yeast that are already onto the grapes skin.

They are so diverse and one piece of land will have different yeast that the one only

few meters away.

Depending on how the vineyard is run, it can have an incredible amount of wild yeast

or just a very few.


Working organically and biodynamically will help increasing that flora, therefore help

in producing Terroir wines that have characters and uniqueness into them but only if

you let the fermentation and those tiny little bugs do what they are supposed to do

you!

A good wine maker is not the one that can make wine out of bad grapes. It is the one

that will lead the way without interfering and changing the natural process of living

things!

Cheers!

Banks Peninsula Wine Tour

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What could be more “A la French” than spending some of your day in the beautiful vineyards of New Zealand? Say ‘Oui’ to this small group tour of the French village of Akaroa.